Swimming and wading pools are some of the most effective ways to cool down during hot weather. Individuals with kids will definitely benefit from having such amenities right in the comfort of their own homes, especially if their kids are feeling testy from the heat.
Already have a pool or thinking of getting one? You need to make sure that every single family member will be able to enjoy what the pool has to offer. If you have someone who has mobility difficulties, you want to make sure that they will be able to access the area easily and safely.
Modifying some parts is necessary to make sure that the pool and the area around it are inclusive and secure for everyone. No matter what type of accessibility equipment or construction you prefer, you want to make sure that it is working, effective, and up to standards. Here’s what you need to know.
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Do Residential Pools Need to be Accessible?
While not every swimming pool is required to have handicap accessibility, such as backyard pools, the same thing cannot be said for pools that are located at hotels and other public areas. However, there could be a way that you may be able to benefit from making your own swimming pool accessible for the handicapped. For instance, a family member who is elderly or requires the use of a wheelchair due to mobility issues will definitely welcome easy access to a pool.
The range of things you can do to make your pool more handicap-friendly is pretty diverse. You can install equipment and build structures to help protect them from accidents and create a more friendly space.
Regardless of the type of accessibility you decide to use for your pool, it’s important to remember that each one is held to different standards that have been established by the ADAAG, or the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessible Guidelines. Because of this, you should always ensure that the specific method that you choose fully complies with these.
What is the Standard for Pool Handicap Accessibility?
If you are not sure how to proceed, you will be glad to know that The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides information on how to make pools handicap accessible.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines, pools should have safe and easy exit and entryways, transfer systems, and other similar equipment.
The standards for pools that are expected to be used by individuals with handicaps include creating an exit and entry way that makes it safe and easy for them to get on and off the pool. The solutions can range from installing an elevator or creating a sloped entrance.
Railings are also important to ensure that everyone, even those without disabilities can have something to hold on to, especially as the pool area can be slippery when wet.
Making Your Home Pool Handicapped Accessible
Homeowners who have handicapped family members should strive to create a safe and accessible pool experience for them in compliance with ADAAG, even if it is not a requirement by law.
If you are determined to create a safe and inclusive swimming pool for your handicapped family member, here are some ideas you should try.
Install Pool Stairs with Railing
While ramps are usually built for handicapped individuals, not every disability takes away a person’s mobility. Some of them want to have some independence and giving them a way to get themselves on and off the pool is a great way to start.
This gives them the ability to move by themselves with minimal assistance. The only thing you need to make sure of is to have an eye on the pool to make sure that everyone is safe. In fact, you should not let any kid, pet, or individual with mobility issues get into the pool without supervision.
What you need to keep in mind is that the ADAAG has a height and width requirement. According to the guidelines, stairs should be 11 inches at maximum.
Consider Using Lifts
One thing that most aquaparks or swimming pool operators choose to do is to install motorized lifts. This works just like any elevator, except its purpose is to help an individual get from the deck into the pool.
This equipment comes with a seat, in which handicapped individuals and the elderly can get into. Then, they are lowered into a shallow part of the pool where they can relax and enjoy splashing around.
The thing about this option is that it can be costly. However, if you have money to spare and you want to give your family member a good time, then this is a great choice. I
Aside from motorized lifts, you can also get something that can be operated manually or with batteries. These can be more affordable. Just remember to properly maintain the equipment to ensure that it works properly every time.
Make a Beach Entry
Now, while many handicapped people may have minimal physical disabilities, there are many people out there that need more help. Those who go around with the assistance of a wheelchair need more accommodations so they can enjoy the pool as well.
One thing that can help is a beach entry, also called zero entry. Based on the name, you can imagine that these entryways have sloped surfaces that can help wheelchair users get into the pool without getting off their mobility aid equipment.
This option does not need stairs or ladders, which makes it a more inclusive one. Again, providing adequate supervision is key to keeping the pool area safe.
Use an Entry Ramp with Railings
If you are looking for something that lets you have stairs but also allows wheelchair users to enter the pool, then a ramp with railings is a great choice.
This provides an option for handicapped individuals to get into the swimming pool in their wheelchairs or with help from the railings. A ramp is easier for them to walk on compared to stairs. Moreover, able-bodied individuals can still use stairs.
Look for Aquatic Wheelchairs
Traditional wheelchairs are not equipped to be submerged and or used in the water. Because they are made of metal, they are prone to corrosion and rust over time.
An aquatic wheelchair, on the other hand, can help facilitate transport and movement for individuals with a disability, alongside the other accommodations mentioned here. These will also last since they are made with a fully waterproof design.
Additional Safety Measures for an Accessible Home Pool
Making your pool more accommodating to the needs of the person with a disability living with you can go a long way in helping them maintain or even boost the quality of life they have.
If you are thinking of other ways you can ensure the safety and protection of these family members, below are some ideas you can build on.
Add Mesh Fencing
Installing mesh fencing around the perimeter of your pool can save lives, especially for people with disability who are prone to getting into unexpected accidents. Besides preventing them from falling into the water, these fences can also keep drowning incidents at bay.
By keeping water out of reach, this mesh fencing acts as a more secure barrier around hazardous areas for your family member. This is a smart investment that gives you additional security and peace of mind.
Install a CCTV Camera for Monitoring
Speaking of getting your peace of mind, having a CCTV camera installed within your property gives you more eyes to keep tabs on handicapped family members and their whereabouts at all times, especially when there’s no one to guard them.
Swimming can be a bit of a challenge for people with disabilities and having a CCTV camera for your pool area alerts you of any trouble or injury right away when they are left unattended.
This likewise allows you to deter crime in your area, particularly when there are younger children or handicapped people in your home. You can document crimes to serve as proof for law enforcement officers if needed and even stop criminals in their tracks.
Supervise Swimmers at All Times
Active supervision is a must for handicapped individuals all the time. This means that your focus must be on them whether they are in and out of the water. After all, supervising them when they are not in the water is equally important, particularly as this is the time when most accidents start to happen.
People with disabilities should not swim on their own. Accidents can happen at any time and having someone else with them in the water can help save their life.
Although these family members or friends might be capable of standing their ground, there’s still a chance that some sort of accident can occur. it pays to be present in order to engage with them and avert disasters at the onset.
The Bottom Line
Going the extra mile in making these happen can help make your pool accessible and handicap-friendly. Through some changes and accommodations, you can prevent aquatic accidents from happening and make your pool a place where they can have some fun throughout the year.
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